A clean viewfinder ? Impossible !

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johnw63, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. At least that's how it seems with my F4. When I got the focusing screen with the grid lines, I took my time to clean it and the mirror ( carefully ) and I still couldn't get it lint/dust free. Now, more than a year later, it's got even more little black fibers in view. It's annoying ! Is there some secret method of cleaning these things ?
  2. If it's really that bad you can clean it ultrasonically, in the correct type of liquid(something that completely evaporates). You think you've got problems? Try keeping the sensor clean in a D3...the dust/dirt/junk actually shows on the picture...on every frame you shoot.
  3. Which is one more reason I haven't jumped to digital. And the reason why Ricoh just came out with the "sensor on the lens" camera.
  4. Which is one more reason I haven't jumped to digital.​
    I guess you've never had a negative or a slide with built-in specks? ?
    I could post page after page of old catalogs offering "spotting" accessories and tools of one sort or another. Freestyle still offers them in quantity.
    As long as film is still made, and I'm thinking that will be a long time, you don't need to change to digital; but let's not get all "sour grapes" in efforts to rationalize.
  5. I saw that Ricoh camera in a recent issue of Popular Photography...interesting.
    I don't have a cure-all remedy, especially since an F4's light path is completely accessible. For any of my cameras with removable focusing screens I've been able to keep them clean with a brush/blower.
  6. In 200,000 shots with digital across 3 years I haven't had problems with dust in D300, D200, 1D3, 40D, other than the occasional sensor specs which can be removed by a blower or [at most once a year] sensor cleaning.
    I wasn't happy with a workflow with film since my target was website posting, and switching to digital was a welcome change, even though i was skeptical at first.
    With film I had issues with scratched negatives, dust and mystery stains, as well as delayed viewing and expense of scanning, or quality loss from scanning a photograph [which had mystery stains and scratches compliments of a photo lab].
    Other than a complaint how the digital sensors can't match a color transition of Velvia in a 200mm sunset photo like this:
    I am very happy with digital
    The first picture is with Velvia-50 and F100 in 2000, the second is with ISO-200 D300 in 2008, and while I do get richness of colors in sunsets, it feels like Velvia does a better job of enhancing colors [and Photoshop can only do so much]. This is the same place [not quite same spot/angle] on about same day of the year, but 8 years apart.
  7. I never had any reason to clean the mirrors of the various film (or digital) SLRs I owned with anything more than a few puffs of air from an air blower. Same goes for the easily removable focusing screens on the F3, F4, and F5 bodies and the slightly less accessible ones from the FM/FM2 and FA bodies. Equally, so far I have gotten away with the same air blower cleaning of the sensors of all my DSLR bodies.
    I would only put a cloth to the top side of any focusing screen - doing so on the bottom side is asking for trouble.
  8. John use a good light source like a small halogen lamp for desktop use (say a 12V 20W bulb) and if at hand a good flash light with a narrow beam like a small Maglite. Good light will show you all dust particles before you re-assemble.
    If you get dust added while cleaning try to clean in another room, perhaps in the shower (with water turned off haha). The bathroom is often very clean of flying dust - I often used to dry my developed films in the shower.
    One source of dust that can drive you mad is a too old air-blower that will not only blow air but also dust. I have seen this once and just getting a new air-blower solved the problem.
    Anyway the first step in your situation is to find out where the dust comes from.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    We are not living in a dust-free environment. You may be able to clean the viewfinder to your satisfaction, but a short while later, the dust will come back. Dust in the viewfinder is not going to affect your image. There is no point to be obsess about it.
    The same is true for dust on negatives and dust on digital sensors. I would look at it this way: there will be automobile accidents every day and there will be airplane crashes once in a while. If you want to wait until cars and planes to be 100%, completely safe, you'll never drive a car or ride in a plane.
  10. Shun pretty much nalied it. Fact is you have to learn to live with such imperfections. Somehow I'm doing well cleaning the sensors on may DSLRs at much once a year, and using just a blower. Still, they are never 100% dust-spot free, but I can live with that.
    I suffer from the same thing on the F4 finder though. At first I thought it was a camera prone to get dirty, but my local shop said all seals were fine. And then I realized I do a lot of lens changing on the F4, much more than in any other of my SLRs, and it made sense the finder got dirty. I don't care anymore, I just use a blower on it every six months or so. When the spots start to get annoying.
  11. I also agree with Shun. Dust doesn't affect the image, and it's easier to just live with it. If viewfinder dust annoys you, try living with eye floaters.
    I've been trying to clean my N90's finder for around forever. I blew the mirror, took off the focusing screen and blew and washed it, and tried cleaning the eyepiece. The dust is still there.
  12. When I got a pentaprism for my Pentacon 6TL, I got a terrific price on it because it had a speck that was inextricably fixed somewhere in the finder. It's not very large, and everytime I happen to notice it, I just think:
    "You little $75 speck, I love you."
  13. JDM indeed; that also goes for some older lenses - a good excuse to bargain in a store ^^. A few small black dots in a lens are usually no problem but can lower the price of a used lens.
  14. I'm NOT obsessing, guys. Just posting an annoyance. Like James W said, it seems like you CAN clean your finder for ever.
    "let's not get all "sour grapes" in efforts to rationalize."
    Let's not get defensive about someone NOT wishing to jump to digital, at this time, either. People have reasons for doing or NOT doing a lot of things. Just because those reasons do not match up with another persons, doesn't mean they are "sour grapes".
    What I was HOPING for is a good way to really clean the finder well, not some lecture on digital or that it's pointless to try to remove the dust, so just learn to live with it.
  15. That's defensive ? Who said that you couldn't stay with film if it pleased you?
    My point was: Just don't toss out ridiculous claims about film being "cleaner" than digital images. Like the fox's comment in Aesop, that is just not something that makes sense, especially if you don't know how sweet the grapes are or not.
    I shoot at least as much film as I do digital, so I'm hardly some digi-head. I do have more than a little basis for comparison.
    This is an eternal shock to some people, but the OP doesn't get to dictate what answers they get to their statements.
  16. John, sounds like you might be dealing with a static charge retaining dust and attracting new dust. Especially in winter. Try an anti-static brush or soft cloth on the pesky surfaces. Ilford makes one, might be safe enough for a focus screen with careful use.

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